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CAT: The first and last 15 minutes
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November 14, 2006

The Common Admission Test scheduled on November 19, is your passport to a successful career. 

You have prepared to the best of your ability.  However, there always are new questions bothering you everyday -- about cutoffs, scores, questions, marking and even about the stress you are facing.

Quries on all these and more, were answered by Sai Kumar, Sunil Kumar and Kaushal Sharma, CAT trainers from T.I.M.E, in a chat on November 13.

For those of you who missed the chat, here is the transcript:

mridula asked, hi,how can u make an estimate of the cut-off in each section?
Sai answers, Mridula, mapping the section you are attempting, to a similar one (in terms of difficulty level) you have seen in your mocks, is the best way to 'guesstimate' the probable cutoff. More important than this is to focus on the paper at hand and try to maximise your score. Worrying about cutoffs during the test would only hamper your progress as it adds to the stress.


monty asked, is there any possibility that the number of question might be reduced further this year?
Sai answers, Yes, there is. And so is the chance of it being increased. I think either which way, you would have been prepared thoroughly with the T.I.M.E. Mock CAts exposing you to all the different exam patterns that one can think of.



KAUSHIK asked, How to handle those Q's which have very close options?
Kaushal answers, In case you are able to eliminate two options and are then not able to decide between the remaining options, you can go in for intelligent guessing. Do not spend too much time reading the questions and choices again and again, since it might confuse you even more. In case you are not able to eliminate any option and all choices are very close, leave the question and come back to it later if you have time.



balancedfish asked, Hii...I have a problem with close verbal two markers..Say, complete the sentence..I can eliminate two of them, but I get stuck with other two and end up losing 2.66 marks..Is it advicable to leave such close answered questions or is it fair enuf to take a guess after eliminating two?
Kaushal answers, The answer given to Kaushik applies to your question too.



xander asked, is'nt it true that media has created over hype for 19th NOV?
Sai answers, The hype is there in the first place because over 1.9 lac students are appearing for the test on November 19. But all said and done, anything that concerns the top management institutes of the country is bound to generate excitement and interest.



balancedfish asked, Hii...I have a problem with close verbal two markers..Say, complete the sentence..I can eliminate two of them, but I get stuck with other two and end up losing 2.66 marks..Is it advicable to leave such close answered questions or is it fair enuf to take a guess after eliminating two?
Sunil answers, If your guess (out of the two choices left) is wrong more than 60 per cent of the times (from your past performances), then you should probably leave such questions and not mark anything. Otherwise, you can go ahead and make a guess.



iim_hopeful asked, SIR am confident of getting a score as follows Quant--15 DI--15 and VA --30 .shd i give less time to VA and improve my scores in the other two or shd i try and maximize my VA score
Kaushal answers, Since you are likely to clear cutoffs in all sections, you should go in for overall score maximisation. However, this need not happen only by spending a lot of time on VA. If you are missing out some questions in Quant and DI in the time you spend on these sections, you should try and look up those questions too, and add to your score by attempting the easy questions thereof.



prateek bansal asked, hey i am quite nervous abt cat as if my life depends on it
Sai answers, Hey Prateek, CAT is just another management entrance exam, like XAT, SNAP, FMS etc. If you don't make it, you have as many good options coming up every successive Sunday, starting November 19. So chill out and relax. Nervousness now translates into stress on the D-day, so pump yourself up, keeping of all the alternatives that exist.



Pearl asked, Sir, now with just about 5 days left for the D-day what are your suggestions to students as to what to do now. Regards.
Kaushal answers, You have been preparing for several months now. With five days to go, do not worry about chapters/ areas where you are still weak. In case it is just a few concepts in particular chapters that is bothering you, revise those concepts. Otherwise, spend your time consolidating all that you have learnt. More importantly, do not panic.



KAUSHIK asked, KAUSHAL SIR.I want to apply forPGDCM of IIM Kolkata in a day or two. So plz advice me, Is the course beneficial for IT graduates or is it beneficial for Non-IT graduates also. If a student pursue this course will he/she be limited to IT field only or the student has opportunity in other field also. How much it is different from PGP of IIM's?
Kaushal answers, PGDCM is beneficial for both IT as well as non-IT graduates. As far as placement opportunities are concerned, PGDCM guys are at par with PGP guys and can apply to almost all the companies. That is because, besides specialising in Systems, PGDCM guys can also choose electives from all the other specialisations -- Marketing, Finance, Strategy, Operations, etc.



KAUSHIK asked, I have a query regarding PGDCM of IIM Kolkata. Is the course beneficial for IT graduates or is it beneficial for Non-IT graduates also. If a student pursue this course will he/she be limited to IT field only or the student has opportunity in other field also. How much it is different from PGP of IIM's?
Sai answers, The PGDCM orients one to the application of IT in management. The core curriculum of PGDCM develops essential skills and knowledge in the areas of economics, OB , finance, marketing, HR and IS. As such, it is equally beneficial to both IT and non-IT graduates. All the core courses are similar to PGP, with only the electives being different.



KAUSHIK asked, How to deal with RC consists of POEM, as often it's difficult to get the meaning ?
Sunil answers, A poem-based RC is just as good as a text/prose-based RC. The advantage is that there is comparatively very less reading required in the poem and the disadvantage is that poetry does not really follow the rules of grammar in the usual sense. Practice reading poems and you will find that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.



Use asked, If i tick all option as A,A,A... what is probability that i clear the cut off?
Kaushal answers, You cannot hope to clear cutoffs by blind guessing. Roughly 1/4th of the number of questions will have A as the answer choice. If there are 100 questions, you will get +25 for the right guesses. At -ve marking of 1/3 for the wrong answer, you will get -25 for the 75 wrong answers. Hence, your most likely score with this strategy is likely to be around 0.



amit asked, To how much percentile in the actual CAT would a %ile of 98.5 in a TIME mock translate to ???
Sai answers, You could take heart in the fact that students scoring around 96+ percentile have in the past been able to get multiple calls and have converted at least one. Obviously, this goes with the caveat that one has to be just as consistent on the one day that matters as you were when you got 98.5 percentile.



iim_hopeful asked, sir if i get a score of around VA-35 DI -13 QUANT --13 Will the iims count it against me tht i hav scored in only one section??
Sai answers, As long as you clear the sectional cutoffs as well as the overall cutoff, it does not matter where you get the bulk of your marks from.



amit asked, is this chat sponsored by TIME ???
Sunil answers, No, but this chat is answered by T.I.M.E.



Ansplz asked, How do Experience matters ininterview?Does it reflect on Written test result?
Kaushal answers, At this stage, do not worry about factors that are not in your control. Just concentrate on CAT. Every year, the IIMs take students with work-ex as well as freshers. You stand to maximise your chances of making it to the IIMs by getting a good score in CAT.



Sai asked, How should a succesfull CAT aspirant uses his fist 15 mins and last 15 mins?
Kaushal answers, The first two to three minutes should be spent scanning the paper and getting an idea about the questions that have been asked. This will ensure that you do not miss the easy questions that are distributed throughout the paper. The last 15 minutes should be used either as a buffer to go back to sections where you might not be clearing cutoffs, or to go to questions which you had identified as easy but could not solve because the time you had allotted to that section had run out.



KAUSHK asked, How many percent of Q's should be attempted irrespective of no. of Q's whether 90 or 150, to clear the CUT-OFF with how much Accuracy?
Sunil answers, You should not look at the per cent of questions, rather look at the percentage worth of marks attempted. Going by data from the past few years, around 50 percent marks worth of attempts with 80+ per cent accuracy should get you at least one two IIM calls.



amit asked, Kaushal & Sai , Can you give an approximate number of calls that are given out by IIMA,B,C,L,K,I respectively ?
Sai answers, Amit A,B and C give around 850-1100 calls each. L gives around 1200-1300 calls and I and K give around 900-1000 calls each. Roughly about 6000 calls are given but the number of distinct people getting calls would be around 2000-2500 (given that people end up getting multiple calls).



amitdhote_iitr asked, sir what should be strat in this final 6 days before the d day
Sunil answers, An article on a 7-day strategy for CAT has already been put up.



arpit asked, imagine that the paper standard and the number of questions were same as last yr...what wud be your take on cut offs considering that candidates have an extra half hr
Sai answers, Given this scenario, an increase of approximately two marks in each of the sections and an overall increase of around five to six marks is distinctly possible.



shambhu asked, i hav 15 yrs of exp. as senior railway engineer.will tht help during gd/pi,if i get through cat?
Kaushal answers, Top B schools would like to have some diversity. Since there aren't too many people with 10+ years of experience applying to B schools, your experience would help you get selected (provided you are also able to justify what you have been doing and why you have decided on a MBA at this stage).



KAUSHK asked, If one is working in IT industry & opts MBA for specialization in any other industry such as marketing or Finance, then it reveals negative impression during interview.?
Sunil answers, NO. But the way you substantiate/explain your choice of specialisation needs to be good.



Pearl asked, Sir whats your opinion on negative marking? Can it be differential?
Sai answers, The CAT bulletin explicitly states that the negative marking is 1/3 of the marks assigned to that question. It is not progressive and neither is it differential but we all agree that it is deferential!



Vasu asked, hi. Jus wanna know whether the 25% min section cutoff holds true for all the IIMs or just Ahmedabad
Sai answers, Only IIM Ahmedabad has mentioned anything about the minimum cutoffs. None of the other IIMs have explicitly stated it or commented on it. As such, we have to wait for the calls to come before being able to state anything with a reasonable degree of certainty.



Pearl asked, Sir, which section should I do last? Maths or DI> My maths is better than DI. Plz advise.
Kaushal answers, Do not leave your weakest section for the last. You would already be fatigued and will end up making mistakes even in easy questions. Ideally, you should start with your strongest section to gain confidence, then attempt your weakest section, and then the section where you aren't too weak.



rahul1on1 asked, does one gets an IIM call if he happens to clear the cut-off in each section?
Kaushal answers, Since the overall cutoff is more than the sum of individual cutoffs, you need to score some more marks from one or more sections (in addition to clearing the cutoffs) to get calls.



srikanth asked, Sir,I am presently wrking in infosys fr the past 6 months... As part of my B-tech project,i did it in TCS fr 4 months..I hav wrked there in TCS fr 4 months.. can that also include fr work xperience??
Sai answers, Any experience gained as part of your graduation cannot be claimed as work-ex. Only fulltime, paid work, starting after graduation counts as work experience.



amit asked, Would a student who is in say the Computer Science dept of an IIT be considered better while giving a call over another from a local engg college if they have close %iles (say 99.5 for IITian and 99.65 for non-IITian ) or is this just a myth ????
Sunil answers, It is possible that the IIT graduate may get a preference in a case where the IIT grad and the non-IIT grad are almost on par in terms of BOTH CAT percentiles and their graduation percentages.



Cat06Asp asked, Should one write a mock test on just the day before CAT?
Sai answers, The day before the D-day should be kept free, to relax, unwind and de-stress oneself. Take all the mocks you want before November 18.



Kumar asked, For me QA & DI are easy to cross the cut off but in VA/RC always I fail to reach the cutoff sometime by a whiker or sometime by some significant margin.Pls guide when ie first , second or last it should be attempted.
Sai answers, Kumar, it is always a good idea to sandwich your weakest section between your two stronger ones. The best place for the weakest section, in the order, is second.



Sharad asked, I am very bad at English, but very good in the other 2 sections. Should i try to get sectional cut-offs or try to maximise my score?
Sai answers, If you have been missing the cutoffs by a long margin in RC/VA, then it would be a good idea to maximise your score in the other two sections.



Sai says, Alright folks, that's all the time we have. Thanks for participating.


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